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Understanding Boundary Descriptions

  • Posted by:
  • Admin
  • Tags:
  • plans
  • Posted date:
  • 20-09-2019
Understanding Boundary Descriptions

Boundaries result from the owner of land dividing a large piece of land into small sections- or parcels of land. The owner then puts up the divided parcels of land for sale. 

Consequently, the owner of the property is therefore responsible for defining or describing where the new boundaries of these created pieces of land will be. 

Boundary descriptions are usually in the earliest title deed which can either be a conveyance or transfer deed that defines that particular parcel of land. 

The description can be through words such as in the parcels clause, in a plan drawn or attached to the deed, or both.

Finding a vague description in the conveyances is common because the people who write them did not have any knowledge in the measurement of land, or drawing accurate plans. They also did not understand the trigonometry or geometry needed to come up with error-free maps and plans. Such people described property under the ethics of caveat emptor, which translates to"let the buyer beware" and went ahead to colour the copies of Ordnance Survey maps yet the law restricts Ordnance Survey from indicating property boundaries on maps.

determining property boundaries

Since the mid-twentieth century, the conveyance and transfer plans depend on the developer's plans; the plan of a developer shows what and where the architect intended to build, even though it can be very far from where the erection of the building ended up or the structure constructed. In such a case, the original fences that the developer erected on the property describe your boundaries and not the lines indicated in the transfer plan or conveyance plan. A seller can define the boundaries with a lack of precision, and when such a case arises, it is worth asking yourself what the they hoped to accomplish by leaving an ambiguous position of the boundaries.

Land Registry

Land Registry does not define property boundaries; its responsibility is to compile and maintain a register of land titles. The record is merely a collection of details that applicants who have to register their titles to land, submit to the land registry. The land registry has little, if any, control of the information it receives hence cannot vouch for the accuracy most especially concerning the positions of boundaries.

cartography apparatus

It is up to you, or any other person who is acting on your behalf, such as a lawyer or other professional to inform the Land Registry the exact location of the boundary. Title plans give a general location of boundaries and not the exact line of boundary. 

Land Registry will, therefore, base its title plans on Ordnance Survey maps which the law prevents from showing property boundaries so instead display the location of physical features. 

Also, getting accurate distances by scaling the Ordnance Survey maps is impossible because they have limitation depending on the location of the property. For example, in the urban areas, the accuracy is variable by 400 mm while in the rural areas it goes up to 1 metre. 


If you need advice on defining your boundaries of resolving a boundary dispute, consult a chartered surveyor to discuss your needs.